The New York Jets have a lot of quarterbacks currently on the roster but how will it all pan out in 2018?
After years of turbulence and failed experiments at the position, the New York Jets finally have a plan at quarterback that represents a possibility of hope. Albeit unproven, the ray of hope is beginning to show from the organization’s leaders as well. Based on conversations that took place at the NFL meetings back in March, its apparent that owner Christopher Johnson, general manager Mike Maccagnan, and head coach Todd Bowles are excited about the options they will have at quarterback for the 2018 season and beyond.
After whiffing on Kirk Cousins in free agency the team wasted no time turning their attention to Plan B. By resigning Josh McCown and then adding Teddy Bridgewater the Jets secured themselves a professional depth chart for the upcoming season. Four days later, they put the icing on the cake by going all in on the future in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts that landed them the third overall pick in the upcoming draft. Translated into simpler terms, whoever they draft is the investment, Bridgewater is the lottery ticket, and McCown serves as the insurance policy.
Now time for the fun part; taking a look into the crystal ball to predict how it will all play out in 2018. Bowles pinned McCown as the starter when training camp kicks off mid-July, but that does anything but guarantee him the starter for Week 1. Since the day he took over as Jets head coach, Bowles has been consistent with preaching competition at every position. For years now, he’s always said that those who perform the best in August will begin the season as the starters, and those who don’t will find themselves on the bench.
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The speculation has been that the Jets want their rookie quarterback to sit and watch from the sidelines for a while. Taking that into account, and while the Jets may not publicly admit it, it’s fair to assume that the summer competition will be a two-man game between McCown and Bridgewater. However, that doesn’t mean if the rookie shows enough promise throughout camp and the pre-season there is no reason he can’t move up the ranks and unseat the two veterans if the Jets are struggling to win games.
Bridgewater is an interesting talent but is also the ultimate wild card of the group. He has not started an NFL game since the end of the 2015 season and has thrown just two passes since suffering a career-threatening knee injury back in 2016. If the former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings can somehow turn himself back into the above average starter that he was the first two years of his career, he will without a doubt be the Jets starting quarterback, and could even play himself into their future plans.
Whether that be trading him for a valuable piece, keeping him as an excellent backup or possibly serving as their long-term answer at the QB position, only good things can come from Bridgewater performing at a high level. While the latter of the three may seem extremely far-fetched and is by far the most unlikely, crazier things have happened being that he did lead the Vikings to a division title over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers just three seasons ago.
Even if Bridgewater fails to impress, there is still no risk involved with the Jets taking a flyer on him. He is only signed through this season for $5 million guaranteed, and if for some reason they choose to cut bait before the start of the regular season, the financial investment drops to only $1 million. It seems the Jets have spent the last few decades turning over every stone, hoping that one day they’ll come across somebody that can lead their franchise to successes that have been few and far between such as division titles, and maybe even a Super Bowl win. While the Jets are a long way from being contenders, finding a franchise quarterback is the first step of the process, and they may finally be on their way to doing just that.